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Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate vs. Olaplex vs. K18: Comparison and Reviews 2024

Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate vs. Olaplex vs. K18: Comparison and Reviews 2024

    In recent years, hair care has only become a DIY project rather than done in salons by professionals. For a simple at-home treatment, you have loads of options. Just as many people know that Redken, Olaplex and K18 are three of the most popular brands within the hair treatment segment of the beauty market. All three brands offer professional in-salon and at-home treatments to repair damaged hair, but which is better? Is K18 as good as Olaplex? Is Redken the same as Olaplex? Is Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate good for your hair?  Which hair treatment is better? If you are among the long bunch of people who are searching for a good review of these brands, you have come to the right place. If you are among the long bunch of people who are searching for a good review of these brands, you have come to the right place. We have broken down the pros and cons of both Olaplex and K18 into this article and there will have different paragraphs to talk about different products of Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate, Olaplex and K18 brands.



Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate vs. Olaplex vs. K18 Overviews

1.Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate

What is Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate?

Founded in 1960 by chemist Jheri Redding and actress Paula Kent, the name Redken combines the founders’ last names: “Red” and “Ken.” Redken was one of the first companies to take a scientific approach to haircare and is now one of the world’s most popular professional hair care brands.

Redken uses the formula PROTEIN + MOISTURE + ACIDIC pH = HEALTHY HAIR when creating its extensive line of hair care products.

Bought out by L’Oreal in 1993, Redken offers hair color salon services, haircare, styling, and men’s products and continues to innovate with products like their Acidic Bonding Concentrate Line.

Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate line-up consists of five distinct products: A shampoo, two conditioners (one richer, one more lightweight for fine hair), an intensive repair treatment, and a leave-in treatment and styling aid. The line is formulated for all hair types and textures, and provides an all-in-one solution to intensely condition, repair, and protect color-treated strands.


How Does the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Collection Work?

The Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate system is formulated with Citric Acid, an alpha hydroxy acid within Redken’s concentrated Bonding Care Complex, a technology that strengthens the weakened bonds of the hair and improves the strength and resilience of damaged hair for immediate visible results. When used as a 3-step system of shampoo, conditioner and conditioning leave-in treatment, Acidic Bonding Concentrate’s pH-balancing formulas infuse hair with the intense conditioning and ultimate repair that dry, damaged hair needs.


Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Price

$52 - $208 (the all Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Range)

Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Pros and Cons

  • Gentle enough for daily use

  • wice as strong after just one use

  • Intense moisture

  • Rinses out easily

  • Smells lovely 

  •  Really fresh and uplifting

  • More hair loss after the shower than usual.

Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Best-Sellers

Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate  is comprised of several products:

  • Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo:The first step in Redken's Acidic Bonding Concentrate routine, the Intensive Pre-Treatment is formulated to visibly smooth the hair cuticle, promote stronger-looking hair and lock in your colour for longer.

  • Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Lightweight Liquid Conditioner: It's Redken's most concentrated all-in-one formula for strength repair on all types of damaged hair. This ultra-rich and luxurious bonding conditioner provides ultimate strength repair, intense conditioning and hair color fade protection. 

  • Redken Acidic Perfecting Concentrate Leave-In Conditioner: it is most concentrated all-in-one formula for strength repair for all types of damaged hair. This conditioning leave-in treatment provides ultimate strength repair, intense conditioning and hair color fade protection. It's the final step in 3-step Acidic Bonding Concentrate regimen.

  • Acidic Bonding Concentrate 5-Min Liquid Maskis an ultra-conditioning mask that provides deep hydration and deep repair on all hair types and textures. Formulated with the most intensive Conditioning Care Complex, a high concentration of cationic agent and conditioning oils, this mask offers immediate detangling, and a smooth, moisturized signature touch without the weight. In just 5 minutes, this mask melts into hair to not only coat, but repair hair damage deep inside the hair.


How to Use the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Range?

When used together, the five products in the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate collection will help reduce breakage, reinforce weakened strands, and leave your hair feeling silky and soft. The entire system is super straightforward to use, but there are two products in particular we want to take a second to discuss further: The Intensive Treatment and the Lightweight Liquid Conditioner, both of which are innovations from the brand that differ from anything else you may have tried before. Read more about each of these heroes below.

(1) Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment

Use as a complete system with Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo and Conditioner. Apply to wet hair, lather, leave-in 5-10 minutes and rinse. Follow with Acidic Bonding Concentrate shampoo and conditioner.

(2) Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Lightweight Liquid Conditioner

Use as a complete regimen with Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo and Leave-In Treatment. After shampooing, apply to wet hair. Rinse. Follow up with the perfecting Leave-In Treatment for damaged hair. In case of contact with eyes, rinse them immediately.

Where to Buy Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate for the Cheapest?

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What is Olaplex?

Founded in 2014, Olaplex quickly became a global sensation as word of its remarkable hair repair capabilities spread. Olaplex is a revolutionary brand that paved the way for a new category of hair care called“bond-building,”the process of protecting, strengthening and rebuilding broken bonds in the hair during and after hair services. 

Olaplex is a system that permanently rebuilds the damaged disulphide bonds in your hair that are broken during the chemical process. If you've over-bleached or had your hair highlighted for years, Olaplex allows you to rebuild the strength, structure and integrity of your hair; a 'reset' for your locks, if you will.

Today OLAPLEX is one of the largest independent hair care brands in the world with over 100 worldwide patents.  Olaplex offers products ranging from shampoo, conditioner, bond-building treatment, styling oil, and others.


How Does Olaplex Work?

Olaplex gives your hair the ultimate repair and protection with a single active ingredient called Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate. Whether your hair is coloured, curled or chemically treated, this molecule relinks broken bonds caused by damage to keep it consistently strong, shiny and healthy. Capable of reversing all forms of damage, Olaplex’s complete collection offers a simple six-step process using a mixture of salon exclusive products your hairdressers and use and an easy at-home system which will transform your hair in an instant.


Olaplex Products Price

The first three stages of Olaplex cost $400.

Olaplex Pros and Cons

  • Reverses hair damage

  • Reduces frizz

  • Adds shine and smoothness to hair

  • Restores and strengthens hair

  • Suitable for all hair types

  • Takes longer to see results

  • Requires more than one product to see effective results

  • Can cause irritation to scalp

  • Takes more time to use in a single use

  • Depending on budget, can be costly

What Are The Stages of Olaplex?

Olaplex is a multi-step, hair strengthening treatment that re-builds disulfide bonds within the hair that are broken by colouring the hair or chemically treating it or using high heat to style it.

Steps zero and three through to nine, as well as the brand new N°4C, are available as at-home products, while steps one and two are in-salon services only and must be administered by the professionals.

The in-salon steps:

  • Olaplex No. 1: Bond Multiplier is for professional in-salon use – and can be put on the hair as a standalone treatment, or if you're getting your colour done, it is mixed in with the bleach and put straight onto your hair in foils.

  • Olaplex No. 2: Bond Perfector is then put on the hair once the bleach is rinsed out, usually at the back wash. This is left on for a good 20 minutes to really get the most out of its chemical mending.

The at-home steps:

  • Olaplex No.0 Bond BuilderThis at-home product primes the hair perfectly for maximum absorption of the next step in the at-home treatment regime, Olaplex No 3. It contains the highest concentration of Olaplex’s patented molecule, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, within the Olaplex retail product line-up.

  • Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector:This take-home treatment is recommended for use once a week and is best applied before your shampoo and conditioner. Apply 1-3 teaspoons to dampened hair and comb through evenly. Leave on for 10-30 minutes or do as Kimmy K does and leave overnight.

  • Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo:This can replace your regular shampoo for a hydrating, strengthening top-up at every wash.

  • Olaplex No. 4-P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo:Enriched with the brand’s original Bond-Builder System, that we all know and love, the No.4-P formula works to transform dry, brittle areas into soft, shiny and resilient strands. It helps to lend strength and manageability, all while illuminating your blonde. 

  • Olaplex No. 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying ShampooThe problem with deeply cleansing hair is that it can strip it of its shine and colour. But Olaplex has made it possible to leave strands squeaky clean and extremely nourished at the same time with its new Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo.

  • Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner:This is the final step in the treatment to hydrate and smooth hair and is recommended to be left on for three minutes before rinsing.

  • Olaplex No.6 Bond Smoother:This leave in smoothing cream is designed to be applied to damp hair after each wash and helps to eliminates frizz and moisturises chemically-treated hair.

  • Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil:This oil somehow manages to restore shine and vibrance to hair without leaving a greasy residue or weighing hair down.

  • Olaplex No.8: Bond Intense Colour Mask:This 4-in-1 restorative mask is infused with that iconic patented Olaplex Bond Building technology, that promises to provide the hair with intense moisture, add volume, smoothness, body and shine.

  • Olaplex No.9: Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum:The latest addition to the Olaplex family is a daily anti-damage serum, which protects hair from pollution, heat and UV rays for up to 48 hours. 


How to Use Olaplex At Home?

  • After your hairdresser uses the Olaplex No.1 Bond Multiplier and Perfector from roots to ends. Olaplex No.2 Bondinng Perfector,you  can start your at-home Olaplex   routine by fully saturating your hair with the No.O Bond Building Treatment.Wait for 10 minutes and do not rinse out.

  • Apply the Olaplex No.3 Hair Olaplex Perfector from roots to ends. Depending on how damaged your  hair is,we recommended leaving it in routine for 10-30 minutes.However,some leave it in for longer ranging from a  few hours to overnight if you decide to do this,we recommend wrapping your hair up in a towel or shower cap to prevent the Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector touching your face or eyes.

  • After rinsing out the Olaplex No.0 Bond Building Treatment and No.3 Hair Perfector from your hair,wash with either the Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo,the Olaplex  No.4C Clarifying Shampoo or the  Olaplex No.4P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo.Follow with the Olaplex No.5 Bond Maintenance  Conditioner to repair and hydrate all  hair types,and remember to use the NEW Olaplex No.4D Dry Shampoo between washes.

  • Apply the Olaplex No.8 Intense Moisture Mask on damp hair from mid-lengths to ends,massaging it in and then combing it with your fingers. If you have shoulder length hair,use 2 pumps. If your hair is longer or thicker, apply more;and less for fine or short  hair.Leave in your hair for ten minutes and rinse out thoroughly.

  • Apply the Olaplex No.6 Bond Smoother in your hair,a leave-in  conditioner that will leave your hair smooth and silky while reducing frizz .

  • Finish off your Olaplex routine with the Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil for extra shine and heat protection.

Where to Buy Olaplex for the Cheapest?


What is K18?

Although K18 was launched in 2020, K18 scientists spent the prior decade testing decapeptide sequences in the human keratin genome.

They found a unique sequence with the correct size and molecular structure that would reconnect broken polypeptide chains and bring back over 90% of hair strength and elasticity. The result of their research is K18PEPTIDE (sh-Oligopeptide-78), K18’s patented peptide that reverses hair damage from bleach and color, chemical services, and heat, in just 4 minutes.

K18 works on the y-axis (length) and the x-axis (width) of your hair strands. It restores hair strength and elasticity for softer, smoother, shiner, and healthier hair.

Besides K18’s star at-home product, K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask, the brand also offers two shampoos, Peptide Prep pH Maintenance Shampoo and Peptide Prep Detox Shampoo, along with in-salon treatments. K18 products are formulated for all hair types.


How Does K18 Work?

According to the brand, the K18 peptide sequence was found to have “just the right composition of cysteines, the structure, the adjacency, and the length” to fit between the keratin chains in damaged hair. Once inside, it binds itself with the chains while helping to repair the disulfide bonds.

This peptide sequence mimics the structure of keratin in the hair and is why K18 is called a “biomimetic” hair mask. Hair can’t repair itself because it doesn’t have any live cells to make this specific keratin peptide so K18 is positioned as “the next best thing” to create a “near-natural state of strength and elasticity.”


K18 Products Price

The ALL 4 K18 products cost $27-$75.

K18 Pros and Cons

  • Restores, strengthens and repairs the hair in single usage

  • Suitable for all hair types

  • Reduces likelihood of future damage to hair

  • Cruelty-free, vegan and colour safe

  • Can be costly depending on budget

  • Not all products are available to public customers

How Many Products does K18 Have?

By comparison, K18 is a new entrant to the hair care market so its offering is smaller. K18 currently has 4 different products on the market:

Like Olaplex, K18 also sells a couple of professional products including the K18 hair mist and the K18 Peptide Prep PRO chelating hair complex.


How To Use K18?

The official K18 mask instructions are:

  • Shampoo, do not condition. Towel dry thoroughly

  • Begin with 1 pump of K18 Mask and add more as needed depending on the length, thickness, and condition. Work evenly into hair, one pump at a time, from ends to roots.

  • Let sit for 4 minutes to activate

  • Do NOT rinse out. Style as usual

When your hair is first damaged, K18 advises that you apply the mask every 4-6 shampoos consecutively. After this point, you enter the “maintenance” stage, at which point K18 recommends using the mask every 3-4 washes to protect against daily damage.

The brand suggests using a clarifying shampoo to remove any product build-up, avoiding using too much (as it can weigh down the hair and waste more product than you need), and making sure the mask sits for four minutes before you apply any other products, or attempt to style the hair. This is to give it time to work without interference.

Where to Buy K18 the Cheapest ?

Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate vs. Olaplex vs. K18: Which Is Best?

Key Differences Between Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate vs.Olaplex: 

  • Price: Both brands are similarly priced at the high end of haircare pricing. However, Redken products are larger and contain more product than Olaplex.

  • Fragrance: Both hair care lines are fragranced. Redken is described as a fresh citrus and floral fragrance containing top notes of orange, bergamot, and marine, middle notes of freesia, peach, and rose, and bottom notes of cedarwood, sandalwood, and amber. Olaplex also has a bright, citrusy fragrance that is found in all of their products.

  • Claims: When using Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Pre-Treatment, Shampoo, and Conditioner, users saw 14x smoother hair and 63% less breakage for 2x stronger hair when compared to non-conditioning products.

  • Damaged Hair Treatment: Olaplex uses its patented ingredient, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, to repair broken bonds in your hair, while Redken uses a Citric Acid + Bonding Care Complex to reinforce broken bonds.

  • Ingredients: While the shampoos share some of the same active ingredients like panthenol, glycerin, and amodimethicone, Redken uses a Citric Acid + 7% Bonding Care Complex to repair damage. Olaplex is formulated with a patented molecule that relinks broken bonds to repair hair damage.

Key Differences Between Olaplex vs. K18:

  • Application: K18 is a leave-in formula - best applied to freshly shampooed hair that’s been towel-dried. Olaplex No.3 is a pre-shampoo treatment that’s designed to be left on for ten minutes before being washed out.

  • Ingredients: Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate in Olaplex rebuilds broken disulfide bonds, while the K18 peptide in K18 repairs broken keratin chains. 

  • Time: While Olaplex No. 3 should be left on for ten minutes or more, K18 should be left to sit for four minutes before styling as usual. 

  • Price: Olaplex No. 3 retails for $28/£26 for 100ml and K18 comes in at $75/£55 for 50ml. 

  • Hair type: Both treatments are suitable for all hair types.

  • Results: Both hair treatments have the power to transform tresses, delivering silky soft strands that look healthier with every wash.  

The Bottom Line

1.Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate 

People love the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate because its approach to hair repair is not just hydrating but instead working on a scientific level to fix broken bonds that make up each strand of our hair. That’s the only way to really heal your hair over time.

If you don’t mind dropping a pretty penny on a hair care regimen, we think the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate is worth it. 


Olaplex products help repair all types of chemical damage, like relaxing and keratin treatments, as well as perms and coloring. If you’ve managed to avoid the bleach but still have damage from heat styling, brushing or even environmental stressors, the Olaplex products are still suitable for you.

No matter if you have curly, fine, thick or coarse hair, Olaplex works for ALL hair types.


K18 targets keratin chains, which helps rebuild the hair’s structure from the inside out, strengthening both the length and the width of the hair shaft (i.e., the sides and rungs of a ladder).

While K18 is most people's  pick for complete damage repair, it doesn’t come cheap. The price of K18’s best-selling hair mask is more than 2x that of Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector treatment, and the K18 bottle size is smaller.

Final Conclusion

Whether your hair damage comes from chemical treatment, a curling iron, color treatments, blow drying your hair, a flat iron, brushing tangled hair, sunlight, or even cold weather, these Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate , Olaplex and K18 products can help protect the hair cuticle, seal in moisture and restore damaged strands.

All three brands are formulated for all hair types, If you have damaged hair,all Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate, Olaplex and K18 can help. If you have very damaged hair, K18 may be a better option because it helps to rebuild the hair’s structure and won’t eventually wash out.

Read More:

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Olaplex vs. Monat vs. Living Proof vs. Kerastase: Which Brand is the Best? (History, Pros&Cons, Price)

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2023-08-01 22:427222